Blog: Article

Radio equipment evolution

14 months ago

The world of remote control (RC) technology has come a long way since the early days of 27 MHz frequencies. While the 27 MHz frequency band was once a staple of the RC hobby, it has since been largely replaced by more advanced and efficient frequencies. In this blog post, we'll take a look at the 27 MHz frequency band, and compare it to the modern-day equivalent frequencies that have taken its place.

The new frequencies used in modern-day RC technology are considered better for several reasons. These new frequencies often have a wider bandwidth, which means they can transmit more data in a shorter amount of time. This results in more responsive and smoother control of the RC model. Additionally, these frequencies also tend to have less interference from other electronic devices, leading to a more stable and reliable connection.

Overall, the improvements in frequency technology have allowed for the development of more advanced and sophisticated RC models that offer a better user experience.

The feature image is the latest radio transmitter from Radiomaster called the 'Zorro'. Retails for around $240NZD. I bought the 4 in 1 model to use with an old Racing Sparrow model with 2 old Futaba S3003 servos. A new receiver was also needed to update an old boat with the latest tech.

 

radio master zorro

Servos and Batteries

It's important to note that while the receiver technology has advanced, the servos and plugs used in RC models have largely remained the same. This means that if you have an older 27 MHz RC model, you can often upgrade it to a modern-day equivalent frequency by simply replacing the receiver. The battery, servos and plugs will work with the new receiver, so there is no need to purchase new servos or modify the existing wiring. You also don't require LiPo batteries or voltage regulators, that's a whole other blog post. 4 AA batteries still does the trick!

A 4.8V battery pack and a modern 2022 Radiomaster 2.4GHz receiver. The aerials are 10cm longx2. They can simply sit inside a model yacht, no need to feed it up the mast.

The 27 MHz freqzuency band was first introduced as a frequency for RC models in the 1970s. At the time, it was considered a major breakthrough in RC technology, as it allowed for the creation of small, low-power RC models that were both affordable and easy to use. The 27 MHz frequency band was quickly adopted by the RC hobby community, and became a staple of the RC industry for many years to come.

However, as technology continued to advance, it became clear that the 27 MHz frequency band had its limitations. One of the main issues with the 27 MHz frequency band was that it was a shared frequency, meaning that multiple RC models could be operating on the same frequency at the same time. This often resulted in interference and decreased performance, as the models would compete for bandwidth on the same frequency.

To address these limitations, modern-day equivalent frequencies were introduced. One of the most popular of these frequencies is the 2.4 GHz frequency band. This frequency band is much wider than the 27 MHz frequency band, which allows for more devices to operate on the same frequency without interfering with each other. Additionally, the 2.4 GHz frequency band is also much less crowded than the 27 MHz frequency band, which means that RC models can operate at higher speeds and with greater precision than they could on the 27 MHz frequency band.

Another advantage of the 2.4 GHz frequency band is that it uses a technology called Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS). This technology allows for the creation of a unique, encrypted connection between the RC model and the controller, which eliminates the risk of interference from other RC models. This is a major improvement over the 27 MHz frequency band, where interference from other models was a common problem.

In addition to the 2.4 GHz frequency band, there are other frequencies that have been introduced as alternatives to the 27 MHz frequency band. One of these frequencies is the 5.8 GHz frequency band, which is often used for high-end RC models and racing drones. The 5.8 GHz frequency band is even wider than the 2.4 GHz frequency band, which allows for even greater speeds and precision. However, it is also more crowded than the 2.4 GHz frequency band, so it is important to be mindful of potential interference when operating RC models on this frequency.

Trusty old Futaba S3003, still available today for around $10NZD, all you really need! This is my personal specimen, rather old and abandoned looking but it still runs fine.

Another frequency that has been introduced as an alternative to the 27 MHz frequency band is the 900 MHz frequency band. This frequency band is similar in width to the 2.4 GHz frequency band, but it operates at a lower frequency, which allows it to penetrate obstacles more effectively. This makes it an ideal frequency for outdoor RC models, such as boats and planes.

One of the main advantages of modern-day equivalent frequencies is that they offer much greater range and reliability than the 27 MHz frequency band. This is due to the fact that the wider frequency bands allow for more data to be transmitted, and the DSSS technology eliminates the risk of interference from other RC models. This results in a much smoother and more enjoyable experience for the user, as the RC model can be operated from a much greater distance with greater precision.

Another advantage of modern-day equivalent frequencies is that they are much more secure than the 27 MHz frequency band. This is due to the unique, encrypted connection that is created between the RC model and the controller.


In conclusion, the 27 MHz frequency band was once a staple of the RC hobby, but has since been replaced by more advanced and efficient frequencies. Modern-day equivalent frequencies, such as 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz, and 900 MHz, offer greater range, reliability, and security than the 27 MHz frequency band, and are the standard for the RC industry today. While the receiver technology has advanced, the servos and plugs used in RC models have largely remained the same, so upgrading an older RC model to a modern-day equivalent frequency is often as simple as replacing the receiver.